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pickling 101

in a burst of righteous zealotry, i signed up for the mega mega share of my CSA, and now there are vegetables leaking out my ears. i want to pickle some! i love eating asian style pickles, but don't know where to start.

these two recipes are both attributed to momofuku but seem to have vastly different proportions

are there recipes you'd recommend? i've never canned before; ideally i guess i'd like things that can just live in my fridge for a few weeks-months without sterile canning hoopla?

are there any books or websites you'd recommend?

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    1. re: wyogal

      I would also suggest reading books on pickling b4 u start
      there r several good books including Ball's, Mrs. Wages books.
      There r also several good sites on web to get u started

      1. re: wyogal

        The freshpreserving is a good site. I think it's part of Ball. I second the rec for the Ball book too - it's got a lot of good basic stuff in there.

        As for the "county extension", rose water, don't bother trying. You're in Manhattan/NYC still, right? They have pretty much no interest (or knowledge) in canning from the exchanges I've had with them. Their focus is elsewhere (which I guess given their priorities makes sense).

        If you're getting scapes from your CSA, definitely give pickled garlic scapes a try. They are really good. And they make very pretty (and tasty) garnishes for bloody marys too! (The recipe I used was from "Tart & Sweet".)

        1. re: LNG212

          But, one could try a website for extension office in say, Iowa....

          1. re: wyogal

            Oh yes, certainly, if you're looking for, say, recipes and written guidelines. But if you'd like to speak with someone, ask questions, or take a class, then here in nyc (and immediate suburbs), one is unfortunately out of luck. I wish they offered things here that I read on CH that other people are doing.

            1. re: wyogal

              the site i mentioned is a national site with beginner info

              Cornell Univ. in NYS has excellent extension service

        2. It sounds like quick (refrigerator) pickles fit your interest!

          Here is a great recipe for do chua (Vietnamese daikon/carrot pickle):

          Linda Ziedrich put out a terrific book, The Joy of Pickling. The recipes cover a wide range of techniques and vegetables. Her blog will give you an idea of her writing and recipes:

          Quick pickles are fun and pretty forgiving!

          3 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            Yes, quick pickles are exactly what I want. Thanks much for the do chua recipe; I'm going to try that with the mounds and mounds of kohlrabi we've got.

            What about the pickled greens served with khao soi? Or the amazing spicy pickled turnips served at Legend in NYC? How do I replicate those?

            1. re: rose water

              I like this recipe for the mustard greens:

              I've never had the turnips from Legend, so can't help you there. But Linda Ziedrich has a Korean turnip pickle which I remember enjoying:

              Use glass for your pickles. The smell from the daikon in the do chua gets so strong that I have a dedicated rubber gasket for the jar when I make that recipe.

              It is better not to use metal lids - they can corrode over time. I use either the hinge style jar or mason jars with the plastic replacement lids. A jar with shoulders is good for keeping the food submerged. This is an example of what I use:


            2. re: meatn3

              I agree with the Joy of Pickling"-one of the best-I have made many of the recipes with success

              there is also www.freshpreserving.com

            3. Years ago I made dill pickles using the "Long Method" from the Ball Blue Book (Edition 28). They were the best pickles I ever ate! I stashed a jar in my mother's refrigerator, where it resided several years before I finally finished it.

              1. Vinegar does a fine job preserving vegetables, whether or not you sterile-can. A simple vinegar/sugar/water/salt bath will allow your chopped/shredded vegetables to remain in your fridge for a few weeks.

                1. In addition to those that have been mentioned, I have/use/ like the book "Put 'Em Up" . It's quite beginner friendly with a wide variety of recipes--plenty of fridge pickle kinds of things.

                  1. Picked up on a tip from the Gramercy Tavern chef:

                    Use a dilute sushi vinegar solution plus whatever spices you please. I buy a large size preseasoned sushi vinegar (ie already contains salt & sugar) and use about 1 part water to 9 parts seasoned vinegar.

                    Use any vegetable you like, raw or parboiled if tough. They will soften in the vinegar.

                    Baby beets with star anise was my favorite so far, baby onions with juniper and black pepper was good too. The beets softened up nicely (but not too much) without parboiling, but baby fennel was too tough even with a minute parboiling - probably as they are fibrous.

                    I like this enough to make it part of my regular repertoire.

                    1. Here's my favorite quick pickle recipe:

                      Pickled Sugar Snap Peas
                      (These are SO crisp and tasty! I add a small spring of fresh tarragon to each jar. My only challenge has been making sure I get rid of all the strings, on both sides of the pods.


                      This one is always a hit for me--I give it almost every hear for holiday gifts. It does require hot-water processing.

                      Pickled Chipotle Asparagus
                      (The only thing I've changed is to cut way back on the carrots They're good, and they add a little color to the jar, but the proportions are off--the star here really should be the asparagus.


                      These are the next things I plan to try:

                      Curry Pickled Cauliflower
                      (I'm going to add a little red bell pepper here, for color


                      Dilled Green Beans
                      (I'll do these without the optional chile peppers, for the capsicum-averse on my gift list. I'm going to use mostly green beans with a few yellow wax beans in the mix


                      I know you said you didn't want to do the whole hot water bath process, but hang on to these recipes (and any other good ones you find that require it)--you may change your mind once you get your feet wet with some quick pickles. I was a little intimidated at first, but it's really pretty easy--and there's something so satisfying about hearing that "CLINK!" of jar lids sealing on the counter. Plus, canned things that keep longer make great gifts throughout the year.

                      I bought my big canner pot at a yard sale, so it was cheap for me to get started. And you probably don't need to boil the jars first, like the old cookbooks say--I run them through the dishwasher on a "sanitize" cycle and take them out still warm, right when I'm ready to fill them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                        Thank you for the link to the pickled sugar snaps! What a glorious idea. I'm not much of a vinegar-eater, but I can totally see those being refreshing. I'm going to make up a batch tout suite!

                        1. re: Vetter

                          The smitten kitchen snap peas are a sure hit. They're one of my favorite quick pickle recipes. Serious Eats has a nice recipe for lemon-y pickled cauliflower, very easy.